Allergic Retraction

I’ve been moaning and groaning and in generally a foul humor for the past few weeks now. I’m tired, my ears are giving me trouble and my nose is constantly running. My freaking allergies are kicking in. But it’s still mostly cold and dark, and winter just seems to hang on for all it’s worth. Doesn’t want to let go. I’m sick of the Dark Age. I’m ready for spring. And why the heck do I have to deal with my seasonal allergies and not have the weather to go with it? They start earlier each year… annoying.

Yesterday, I had this overwhelming urge to go get some 600 grit sandpaper. I looked at the temperature readout and find that it is 95 degrees on my front stoop (that’s where the “not weatherproof” sensor is located). Yes. I need some sandpaper, stat! I dig out my summer gear, slide into it via my moisture wicking base layer and head for the front door. Bright sunshine and the sound of children playing greet me as I step outside, locking up behind me. I squint into this awesome spring afternoon and am glad I had the foresight to change my shield to the tinted one. I can feel the warmth of the sun through my gear and the air even smells good today. I still don’t get it.

As I’m ready to push off and roll down my concrete pad and into the street I notice that the Pirate is covered in a bright yellow, green-hued neon-colored dust. No wonder my throat is sore and I can’t breathe at night anymore. The Augusta Nationals are but a few weeks away, the grass is growing at an astonishing rate, we’re covered in pollen, and fluticasone propionate sales are up. Yes, it’s spring time in Georgia.

Pollen Dusted

A few miles into my trip I notice, as I swiftly merge onto I-20, that I’m smiling. I’m actually feeling pretty damn good and I’m enjoying my ride to the hardware store. A quick glance at the speedo tells me I’m enjoying my ride a little bit too much. I’m two miles short of hauling a ton. I change into the right lane and settle down to a more respectable speed. For the first time in a long while I’m sitting up straight into the wind. No need to tuck and hide myself behind the windshield to stay out of the cold airstream as much as possible. I see all manner of bikes out and about. It is Friday afternoon and the weekend has begun. I get it now.

Stash those battery tenders and dig out your warm weather gear, for riding season is finally here! Start your engines. It’s time to play in traffic!

I have said before that I am bored with street riding and that I’m done with it… I am not done with street riding. I confused perfunctory winter commuting with riding. I confused racing with riding. The time to ride, to really ride is upon us.

Life, again, is good!

Fun #MissBusaFact: Today, 23 years ago, I experienced my first kiss.

…and upon posting, another WordPress Surprise:


My Coming Out Story

I have told the story in a previous post. The story of how my teenage dreams of riding a sport bike were cut down in their infancy by somebody tipping my father off to the fact that I was doing parking lot drills with my boyfriend on his Kawasaki GPZ900R. I hated living in that town growing up. Well, once I hit the proper age where gossip interferes with one’s social life and the teenage shenanigans. Everybody knew everything about everybody else. But what can you do? Population: 360 and as boring as watching paint peel off the walls. And we had two information hubs, too. One lady to cover each side of the train tracks… well, each side of the brook that divided the town. We really didn’t have a “bad side”, the people in the “Vorderdorf” just thought they were better than us folks from the “Hinterdorf”. Whatever!

Word, then, had gotten around that I was trying to get my motorcycle license. I even started to take the motorcycle classes and written tests in the “Fahrschule”. Mind you, in Germany licensing procedures are tough and extremely expensive. And for motorcycles it’s a graduated system. You can’t just get your license and park your butt on your boyfriend’s 900cc monster. You have to work your way up to that in increments over years. The indignity! It’s really more akin to acquiring a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) than having your parents teach you to drive and then you take a trip to the tag office in your parents’ car and they make you do the block around the courthouse and have you parallel park between two cones that are far enough apart to put a semi-tractor/trailer rig in. Please! You’re kidding me, right?!? I didn’t even have to back in, I could have just pulled that joker in there, but I didn’t; I wanted to show off my Teutonic excellence of getting into a hole fifteen centimeters shorter than the car and without having to do even one single pull up. I was so astonished at how simple it was for me to get my drivers license (yet again) in the US. I couldn’t believe it! Damn, did we get screwed in the homeland!

Anyway, the end result of Radio Free Hometown was that Papa found out, not like he wouldn’t have anyway when the school sent him the bill. Yeah, teenage naïveté, a classic textbook case. He confronted me with the evidence and told me, in no uncertain terms and with a raised voice, that he’d rather kill me himself than let me go through with this. What the hell?!? He rode motorcycles when he was young. He commuted to work on one for years. I knew he hated me riding on the back of my boyfriend’s bike, but I thought that was just because he knew the kid couldn’t freaking drive like a sane person if he tried. Hell, the jerk had a four-point restraining system for a seatbelt. Did the passenger rate one of those? Hell no! I had to use conventional means to hang the fuck on! I had nightmares about his driving and the inevitable frontal collision that took my life before the ripe old age of 24 (his age at the time when we were dating, I was 17.)

Moto Guzzi Condor

A 1938-1940 (?) Moto Guzzi Condor: Is this what Papa's ride looked like? I think he said he rode a 250cc Moto Guzzi, but when asked later he couldn't recall what it was. He rode that thing rain or shine, sleet or snow to get to work in post-war Germany. It was his brother's machine which he snagged up for himself when it sat abandoned in the shed. Apparently the brother had procured himself proper transportation of the four-wheeled variety.

Meanwhile, 18 years later. Another time, another place…

I buy a bike, I learn to ride. I don’t tell Papa a thing. I call it the “vehicle” (das Fahrzeug). I never tell him it’s lacking in contact patches by 50% and that it is impossible for me to ever lock my keys in. He never asks what I got, I don’t tell. He assumes it’s a car, I do not correct him. When we send him family pictures, they go through an additional censorship process to verify all the photos are devoid of motorcycles and motorcycle gear. This goes on for over a year and a half. Until I go to racing school. The itch to tell him came sooner, because I wanted to share with my father something that was really important to me, and an integral part of my life. I had accomplished so much. I wanted my father to be proud of me. Finally his daughter, who gets bored with stuff easily and hence “never finishes anything,” has found something that actually keeps her interest and keeps challenging her enough to stick with it.

Over the months I’ve been riding I have occasionally poked around during our weekly telephone conversations as to his current attitude about motorcycles and — God forbid – his daughter riding one… stuck my toe in; no, the water’s not fine. I’m not jumping in. I found out during one of these fishing expeditions that my cousin had wrecked her Beemer and she had been in the hospital for quite some time, waiting for her bones to fuse back together and her lacerations to heal. Her husband had also wrecked his bike before, too. From the description Papa gave me, it sounded like they both are avid long-distance riders. Eventually, I told him that my husband had bought one. I swallowed hard and my heart was racing as I waited for his answer. Then he just flatly said: “Der ist doch bekloppt!” basically calling Mr. Slow crazy. Yeah, so much for that. If that’s what the son-in-law gets, I don’t even want to know what happens if he finds out that his only daughter is riding. And that she has a racing license. Yeah, forget that. Bury it!!!

I came out to him by necessity of circumstance. I didn’t want to, but I had to. So I just told him that I have a motorcycle and was riding it to work daily, but not how long that indecency had been going on. I was so worried he would plop his ass on a plane, fly over here, and take care of his daughter’s business for she is obviously out of her mind. Instead, he paused, then said:

“Mädchen, sei vorsichtig. Die Arschlöcher können nicht fahren!”
(“Girl, be careful. These assholes don’t know how to drive!”)

And that is how I came out to my dad as a biker chick.

Photo Credits:
The above photo’s source image was downloaded from wikimedia.org and is labeled as public domain, licensed for reuse. I have modified it and cropped it slightly. If this is a copyrighted image, please contact me, so I can take the proper action.